Graphic Works of the American 30’s


Today’s library find caught my eye with its bold green-on-white spine title, set in one of those stylish 30’s typefaces that’s impossible not to adore. The curves of the S’s curl beguilingly, and the bars of the H’s wave like the sea a Deco travel poster.

It’s only fitting that my interest in this book should have come, at first blush, from its graphic qualities. The book itself is a collection of prints showcasing everyday life in the 30’s, preceded by a few well-written pages on printmaking. (If you need a brief yet thorough reference on the difference between woodcuts and wood engravings, this is your book.)

The beauty of this book comes not only from its collection of incredibly detailed print work, but in the glimpses it offers into an era familiar yet distant from our own. A time of intense social and political change, poverty, and a restless hope for a better future. Just as many of us today use our work to voice our outrage at the social injustices we see around us, or to memorialize those moments of beautiful stillness and contemplation within that world of unrest, these artists depict the truth of the time they lived in- its violence, and its beauty.





Check it Out!

Mary J. Wilson




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